IT chiefs need more incentive to go green

Datacentre managers would be more inclined to improve efficiency if they had responsibility for the power costs, says analyst

There needs to be greater incentives for tech departments to become greener by reducing their overall energy consumption and carbon footprint, according to Dennis Szubert, principle analyst at Quocirca.

Szubert feels datacentre managers would take more responsibility if they were given more information about what their hardware consumes.

Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk's sister site, silicon.com, Szubert said: "There's a lack of information — [IT managers] don't know how much power they're using and there's a lack of incentive for them to save power."

He added: "The carbon footprint of IT is the same as the airline industry. And yet the way IT is managed doesn't really help in cutting the power consumption."

Szubert argued datacentre managers would be more inclined to improve efficiency if they are the ones who have to pay the bills.

But Quocirca research found less than one in five IT decision makers have responsibility for the electricity bill, with 54 percent never made aware of it.

Szubert said: "If they had responsibility for the power bill then they would recoup that through chargeback to the business." He added that electricity costs are often calculated according to floor space rather than actual demands of different departments.

"If you think about it, it doesn't make sense because IT must be one of your biggest power consumers. If you do it that way then obviously the datacentre manager is paying way less than he's consuming," said Szubert.

Of the Quocirca research — which was commissioned by software house GDCM and covered 300 businesses in Europe, the UK and the US — Szubert said: "The results that came back were really rather startling and they really paint a picture of companies struggling with complexity in the datacentre."

Only 43 percent of respondents said they have a formal carbon footprint reduction policy, while just 35 percent of those said they pass them on to IT departments as a formal objective.

The other major barrier to datacentres becoming more environmentally friendly is poor management, according to Szubert.

He said: "If datacentres don't manage their physical infrastructure very well then they can't do all the good things that could be done to save power."

"If you want to make changes in the datacentre, you need to put in incentives. The technologies are there, the techniques are there to save power but there's not the will, there's not the incentive to do so," he concluded.